One year removed from arriving in San Diego via free agency, the real Manny Machado showed up. Machado appeared in all 60 games for the Padres during the shortened season slashing a robust .304/.370/.580 with 44 runs, 16 home runs, 47 RBI and six stolen bases in 254 plate appearances. He and Fernando Tatis Jr. fueled the reborn Friar Faithful offense.

More interesting than Machado's power rebound, he stole six bases so a potential return to double digits in the scarce category adds to his appeal in 2021 drafts. Plus, Machado recorded his first walk rate over 10 percent, noting it's a smaller sample size, and reduced his strikeout percentage by 4.8 points to 14.6 percent last season. His isolated power represents a career high, remember when Machado could only hit home runs in Camden Yards? During the truncated season, only Luke Voit (16) hit more home runs in his home ballpark than Machado's 13 in Petco and his home on-base plus slugging percentage (1.190) ranked third in the majors. Machado even turned in his lowest O-Swing percentage (outside the strike zone) of 27.8 percent since 2015.

A healthy, confident and talented player in year two of his contract performed to his previous All-Star levels. This resonated in his plate discipline skills taking a major step forward during his Age-27 season. So, Machado remains in his power peak heading into the 2021 season on a team poised to contend for a deep run in the playoffs.

Delving into his data on Statcast, Machado registered 191 batted ball events with 21 barrels (11 percent), a 90.2 MPH average exit velocity and 43.5 hard hit percentage. Machado notched an identical expected batting average (.304) to his actual one with an expected slugging of .539 and an expected weighted on-base average of .368, so some migration to the mean should ensue when getting to his projections at the end of the profile. Still, Machado's bounce back campaign cannot be overlooked when ranking third basemen this season.

Digging deeper into his numbers, Machado increased his zone swing percentage while reducing his chase rate and lowering his whiff percentage by 2.5 points to 21.7 percent. Power hitters laying off pitches outside the strike zone while making more contact in it helps insulate future results. Even with a low fly ball percentage (21.5), Machado's power remained intact fueled by a 29.8 line drive rate and he did pull the ball a bit more in 2020. This needs to be monitored but his spray chart from the second half of 2019 through the end of last season should assuage any worries.

When viewing Machado's numbers against his peers, his xBA ranked in the 95th percentile, his xSLG in the 91st and his barrels finished in the 94th percentile. Plus, 10 of his 18 home runs (Statcast counts the postseason results in this category) rated as no doubters, or home runs in any of the 30 major league stadiums.

Taking into account the shortened season, it's necessary to take a longer look into any player's numbers if possible to get a larger scale of his skill set. For starters, here's Machado's statistics from the second half of 2019 through and including the 2020 regular season:

  • Machado 2H 2019-through-2020: 129 games, 543 plate appearances, 74 runs, 28 home runs, 74 RBI, nine stolen bases; .271/.348/.498, 10.3 BB%, 16.4 K%, .227 ISO, .354 wOBA

Following up on his batted ball results, here's Machado's spray chart from these 129 contests showing all of his fly balls and line drives courtesy of Statcast:

Perhaps part of Machado's adjustment to Petco Park lies in his ability to generate home runs to left field. This would explain his rise in pull rate last season. Thankfully he improved on all of his discipline metrics so Machado did not sell out pulling the ball for home runs. Keep this in mind going forward.

Taking Machado's numbers out to the last three seasons prior to viewing his projections makes sense. Here's how they stack up:

  • Machado Last Three Years: 381 games, 1,636 plate appearances, 209 runs, 85 home runs, 239 RBI, 25 stolen bases; .280/.353/.511, 9.8 BB%, 16.7 K%, .231 ISO, .360 wOBA

Machado turns 29 during July of 2021 so he's still in his power peak but this may be the year to cash in on it. His projections suggest a strong season with different results in his counting statistics:

  • Machado 2021 Steamer Projection: 150 games, 661 plate appearances, 95 runs, 36 home runs, 105 RBI, nine stolen bases; .274/.352/.519, 10.3 BB%, 17.4 K%, .245 ISO, .359 wOBA
  • Machado 2021 ZiPS Projection: 149 games, 650 plate appearances, 84 runs, 33 home runs, 116 RBI, 11 stolen bases; .271/.338/.498, 9.2 BB%, 16.9 K%, .227 ISO, .345 wOBA

Batting third in a burgeoning Padres lineup sets up Machado for success in runs and RBI. How many home runs and stolen bases he accrues sets his ceiling. Noting his comfort level in San Diego stabilizing and hitting behind the talented Tatis Jr. means Machado should see fastballs if his teammate's on base. Machado crushed fastballs to the tune of a .346 batting average and a tantalizing .692 slugging percentage. Plus, Machado's a career .280 hitter but his projections reset closer to his last three years.

Keeping this in mind, paying for Machado's Steamer slash line leaves room for improvement if he hits .280 or better noting he's reached this plateau in five of his last eight seasons. As for his overall projection, Steamer projects a run every seven plate appearances while ZiPS dials it back to 7.7 plate appearances per run. But, ZiPS proves more friendly in terms of RBI with one every 5.6 plate appearances versus Steamer's 6.3. Taking into account his second half of 2019 through 2020 and his last three years, here's how Machado's counting numbers may end up based on how many plate appearances 2021 provides:

  • Machado 300 plate appearances: 43 runs, 16 HR, 46 RBI, five SB
  • Machado 450 plate appearances: 65 runs, 25 HR, 69 RBI, eight SB
  • Machado 600 plate appearances: 87 runs, 33 HR, 92 RBI, 11 SB

These rates reflect the average of his 2020 rates, the second half of 2019 through 2020 and his last three years for the following standards: a run every 6.9 plate appearances, a home run every 18.2, an RBI every 6.5 and a stolen base every 56 plate appearances. With a sliding scale of .280-to-.292 as a batting average. If he hits a career high 38 home runs, it would not be a surprise making Machado a player worth targeting in the upcoming season.

Statistical Credits:

ZiPS courtesy of Dan Szymborski